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Voter ID pilots - what's the cost?

April 25, 2019 8:18 PM

ballotboxLiberal Democrats in Pendle have slammed the secrecy over the cost of the voter ID pilots that are taking place at the Council elections in Pendle this year. They say that added to the problems that are being caused for voters, to refuse to say how much it is costing the public purse is just an insult.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Tony Greaves said that the Government have refused to allow Pendle Council to tell anyone how much it is costing. Their excuse is that "the figures are not yet finalised" and that "Releasing partial figures at this stage will only prove to be misleading.".

Councillor Greaves added: "This is bureaucratic gobbledegook from people who dare not tell us how much money is being wasted."

The Liberals have estimated that the overall figure in Pendle is likely to be at least £50,000. Liberal Group Leader on Pendle Council; David Whipp said: "It gets my goat that money is no object when it comes to a caper like this - but Pendle Council is starved of funds to provide bread and butter services."

The Conservatives in Pendle have said that the requirement for ID at polling stations is intended to tackle postal vote fraud - but no ID is required for postal voters. However there is a growing list of problems with the pilots:

• People refusing to apply for a Council ID card (so losing their vote) when they have none of the documents on the list, because it requires a trip to Nelson.

• People who are relying on photo ID which is not on the approved list - so will be refused a vote when they turn up.

• Related problems with postal votes which have still not been received by many people.

Councillor Greaves, who is the agent for many of the Liberal Democrat candidates, added: ¨We are expecting the number of people turned away at polling stations to be well into three figures. Where there are close results this may well result in a false outcome.

"We are not blaming Pendle staff who are working beyond the call of duty to make it all work. They are also the victims of a stupid decision to do this thing."